Burnout Among Workers

Burnout is the word which is synonymously related with the situation at the workplace. The term burnout was first introduced in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He had described the experience as the consequences of severe stress encountered by the ‘helping’ professional or specifically the healthcare workers who are consumed by their responsibility toll. Now, burnout is conceptualised that it not only affects the healthcare workers but also other workers who are with emotionally demanding professional roles at other work setups. In 2019, WHO officially described the burnout as the occupational phenomenon syndrome. WHO stated that although it is not a medical condition, it is described as a factor influencing health status or contact with health services. According to the WHO, burnout is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three component syndromes-exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy.
Exhaustion represents the individual stress component of burnout. The affected people feel drained and exhausted and therefore their emotions and physical resources are depleted. The work overload and personal conflict on the job were attributed as the contributing factors.
Cynicism refers to the interpersonal context component of burnout. It is the negative and detachment of interest towards work. Affected people will start to back off and cut down on what they were doing. Instead of doing their very best at their work places, they are regressing towards doing the minimum, callous and even hostile toward colleagues or client. They start feeling cynical toward the working condition and the people they work with.
Inefficiency refers to the personal evaluation of incompetency, lack of achievement and decreased productivity. At this stage, the affected people come to have a negative regard for themselves and for others as well. The result is poor productivity and morale at the workplace.
A Malaysian report – Malaysia’s Healthiest Workplace AIA Vitality Survey 2019 – highlighted that 51% of employees suffer from at least one dimension of work-related stress and 53% getting less than seven hours of sleep in 24-hour period. This finding shows that Malaysian employees are generally affected with burnout to a certain extent.
Detrimentally, burnout has a negative implication to the psychological, physical and social well-being of a person. The mental health of a person where he or she could experience depression, anxiety and anger affecting his or her day life functioning. Bringing about heart disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes particularly on the physical health. Burnout could expose the individual to alcohol or substance abuse, or personal negligence toward finance management and responsibilities. He or she could also risk negative social relationship with surrounding member and co-workers.
A Malaysian report – PwC’s Hopes and Fears Survey 2021 revealed that only 25% said their employer helped them manage stress and focus their emotional well-being while at the same time, only 22% were encourage to take short breaks in the working days.

How to get away with Burnout
Burnout often comes out with the situational factors that happen around the workplace. So, it is good to analyse the problem at the job, team or even the management level. Whilst addressing the changes on the work surrounding requires more effort, the individual who is feeling burned out, may make changes at a personal level in relating to his or her work environment.
Self-care. It is important to take care of ones self-empowerment physically and emotionally. The affected individual should look after his or her needs from sleep routines, nutrition, exercise, and social relationship which could promote a healthy well-being. These measures should improve the body and mind and help reconnect better with tasks at work. Also, it is good to have any practice or activity such hobby to relieve the body and for relaxation.
Seek support. It is good to reach out to  colleagues, or an employer and acknowledge the problems. There could be an alternative outcome to work procedures. Employers could implement a healthy working culture in the work setup. A good standard operating working guideline or short break for example shall do some benefit to a healthy workplace. Finally, seeking medical advice is important so that the burnout individual can get the necessary help.
Assess the options available. The individual with burnout shall evaluate what working options are available to consider for better functional performance. He or she could identify the job stressor which would trigger ill-health. The burnout individual shall discuss the specific concerns with the employer. For example, there could be a change, expectation, compromise or solutions toward working limitation. Job reshaping would encourage a burnout individual focusing on his or her strength areas while promoting improvement or fulfilling tasks.
Burnout is a common and important problem among workers. It is fundamental to understand and recognise the burnout syndrome before it spills negative effects to the body, social circle and the working system. Maintaining a healthier lifestyle is paramount in living a day-to-day life. Give it a read!!!

Blog by Wan Hazree.